This little novella by Kelli Owen packs a punch, and it throws it at you quickly. In The Neighborhood we are introduced to the small town of Neillsville. Everyone knows everyone in Neillsville, yet this ain’t Mister Rogers’ neighborhood. After the discovery of a severed finger, accusations fly. However, this story isn’t about the adults, it’s about the children.
While reading this, I actually stopped at one point and said “holy shit” out loud. It wasn’t that it’s really that shocking, just that I was not ready for it. There’s an implied brutality and lack of empathy among the children which is jarring. Kelli does a great job of never giving you too many answers. You become one of the townspeople, wildly assuming and tossing around suspects and suspected deeds. Characters are presented quickly, and for a moment it can be hard to keep up, but in the end it isn’t really necessary.
Then ending comes quickly and is unwelcome. I would have been pleased to see this story run twice as long. But part of its beauty is that it leaves you wanting more. Most of your questions go unresolved, and sometimes isn’t that the scariest thing of all?